military commercial satellites

Experts Warn of Blurring Line Between Military, Commercial Satellites

As governments become more reliant on information provided by commercial space assets, the line between military and civilian targets will become increasingly blurred in future conflicts, three former Air Force space operators-turned commercial space executives said a panel discussion hosted by the Hudson Institute July 26.
T-38 crash

Bird Strike Caused T-38 Crash, Investigators Say

A large bird struck the canopy of a T-38 and sent debris flying into the trainer jets’ engines, forcing the pilot to eject and the aircraft to crash last November, according to a new Air Force accident investigation report. The mishap, which resulted in the complete destruction of the T-38, was unavoidable and the sole cause of the loss, investigators said.

Radar Sweep

Senate Passes Annual Defense Bill, Teeing Up Showdown with House

The Hill

The Senate on July 27 passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), teeing up a looming effort to find a deal on a compromise bill that satisfies the Democratic Senate and Republican House. Senators voted 86-11 on the bill, which authorizes a topline figure of $886 billion for fiscal 2024, the total that was included in the debt ceiling deal struck between the Biden administration and House Republicans.

Senators Rally to Boost Defense Spending, with $1 Billion for Taiwan

Defense News

Republicans in the Senate and House are bucking spending levels agreed upon in the debt ceiling deal earlier this year. But they’re headed in different directions. On July 27, Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee joined Democrats in pushing a plan to increase defense spending beyond the negotiated cap, advancing an $832 billion Pentagon spending bill that includes an extra $8 billion in emergency funds. The Senate’s move again puts Republican defense hawks at odds with deficit hawks in their own party, and leaves open the question of what the final defense spending number could reach when the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1.

‘Door Is Open’ for New Zealand to Join AUKUS, Blinken Says


The “door is open” for New Zealand and other countries to join the security pact between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said July 27. “On AUKUS as we continue to develop it … the door is very much open for New Zealand and other partners to engage as they see appropriate going forward,” Blinken told reporters in New Zealand. “We’ve long worked together on the most important national security issues, and so as we further develop AUKUS, as I said, the door is open to engagement.”

OPINION: It’s Time to End the ‘Era of the Great Distraction’

The Washington Post

“Dazzling U.S. precision weapons in the Gulf War 32 years ago encouraged a theory that was dangerous because it was soothing: The era of industrialized wars—those in which the mass manufacturing capacities of the combatant nations would be decisive—had ended. This theory has been slain by a fact: Russia’s war to erase Ukraine,” writes George F. Will.

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National Guard Recruitment Is Improving, Chief Expects to Reach Force Goals for 2023

Stars and Stripes

Both components of the National Guard expect to come at least very close to their goals for troops by the end of fiscal 2023, Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson said July 27. The National Guard’s authorized end strength for fiscal 2023, which includes new recruits and existing troops, is about 433,000—325,000 for the Army Guard and 108,000 for the Air Guard, said Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau. The fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

Go Deeper on Operational Imperatives

Air & Space Forces Magazine

Virtually every part of the Department of the Air Force’s drive to modernize is being shaped by Secretary Frank Kendall’s seven Operational Imperatives—lines of effort that address the most important and urgent challenges facing the Air Force today. Now, the department and industry are working together to develop solutions for each imperative, and the results will likely change the Air Force and Space Force for the next generation. Keep up with all the latest news on each Operational Imperative.

Amid Congressional Fury, DOD Official Defends Ditching Multi-Million Dollar Travel System

Breaking Defense

The Defense Department decided to scrap its new multi-million dollar travel management system because of very low adoption rate, as well as slower than anticipated return to travel after the COVID-19 pandemic, a DOD official recently told a testy group of House lawmakers. During a contentious House Oversight and Accountability subcommittee hearing, Jeffrey Register, director of the Defense Human Resources Activity, said the new MyTravel system, meant to replace the decades-old Defense Travel System (DTS), reported only a 12 percent usage by the end of April.

North Korea Unveils Look-Alike Global Hawk, Reaper Drones

The War Zone

North Korea has unveiled two new drones that appear to be almost exact visual copies of the well-known U.S.-made RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Its state media has also provided brief videos showing both of them in flight. While the precise capabilities of these North Korean drones remain very much unclear—they are certain to fall well short of their U.S. lookalikes—the fact that Pyongyang has been plowing resources into developing them does at least point to an increasing interest in advanced UAV designs for both surveillance and attack.

Former Google Emerging Tech ‘Evangelist’ Joins AFRL as First CIO, Director of Digital Capabilities Directorate


The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) has tapped Alexis Bonnell, formerly of Google, as its inaugural chief information officer and director of its nascent Digital Capabilities Directorate. As the laboratory’s first-ever CIO, Bonnell will be responsible for developing and executing an information technology strategy for AFRL. Her focus will be “catalyzing the discovery, development, and integration of warfighting technologies for air, space, and cyberspace forces via digital capabilities, IT infrastructure and technological innovation across the lab’s operations and culture,” according to her bio on the organization’s website.

Afghanistan Shows the US Needs a Doctrine Not Just for Fighting Wars, But Also Leaving Them

Defense One

There are fresh lessons to be learned from the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, witnesses told lawmakers in a July 27 hearing that—unlike earlier ones intended to make sense of what happened or affix political blame—produced some helpful recommendations for avoiding future catastrophes. Closing Bagram Air Field and evacuating out of Hamid Karzai International Airport was a massive mistake, Command Sgt. Maj. Jacob Smith of the 10th Mountain Division told the House foreign affairs committee.

Thunderstorm Damage to Vance’s T-6 Fleet Will Slow Pilot Training

Air Force Times

Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma is inspecting its entire fleet of T-6 Texan II training aircraft for damage after a severe thunderstorm swept through on July 21, delaying undergraduate pilot training by at least two weeks. The thunderstorm battered the T-6s with winds over 70 mph, blowing off their protective covers and prompting concerns about debris in the engines and other structural problems, the Air Force said.

OPINION: Army Recruiting Shortages Will Force Big Changes at the Pentagon

The Washington Post

“It has been a tough season for U.S. military recruiters. In June, the Navy issued and then rescinded an order requiring its recruiters to work six days a week. The Air Force lifted a long-standing ban on neck and hand tattoos in March to help more recruits qualify for military service. The Army secretary said more recently that she was contemplating reductions in the service’s size, in part to modernize the force but also to avoid ‘hollow formations.’ The soldier shortage has left Army brass with few alternatives,” writes the Washington Post’s editorial board.

One More Thing

Why the Doolittle Raid Required a Handmade Bombsight

We Are The Mighty

The Norden bombsight was the primary bombsight used by American bombers during WWII. Before the introduction of radar bombsights in 1943, the gyroscopically-stabilized Norden was the most accurate high-altitude bombing sight and was even used to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. American bombardiers swore to protect the secrets of the sight with their lives. However, a different sight was required for the famous Doolittle Raid.